Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve lived in Louisiana for a handful of years, and I’m now working on a PhD in English at LSU. In my time here, I’ve tried many different gas stations’ boudin (they always have the BEST boudin. My favorite: Nonc Kev’s in Rayne); done too many shots during Mardi Gras in Lake Charles; learned how to peel crawfish the right way; and learned that going slow damn what other drivers think is the only way to survive the I-10 corridor. Biking is just as dangerous, though it makes for better exercise.
So What Happened Was, Or: The Ghost and the Bell
See, it didn’t start off as a coherent plan, or some sort of destination
that we both wanted to end up at. It was late, we were a little bit wasted,
and there’s only so many card games you can vodka-slog through
before things are too much. It’s really true. I’d gone fish enough,
and it was already like ten-thirty pm. What we needed was less
conversation, more tacos. Whoever left first, they kept bringing
up the ghost everyone talked of, living (dying? whatever) in the
room down the hall. Like the whole dorm knew about it, this person,
this b-baller, had died while dribbling, and you could still catch wind
of the thump thumpa thump if you were out late enough, then.
So maybe it was Rachel who got out first and tried to be creepy
about it—we gotta make it before we hear the ball, gotta be sneaky. We kept
bumping the wall, freaking ourselves out, thinking we’d as soon find hell
before finding the car, but we got there, and somebody (maybe it was
Jason) got us to Taco Bell. I’d never had a Crunchwrap, which
I bring up because I proudly didn’t get one then either, just as well—
just chalupas like usual, but chicken this time because I was feeling
sort of adventurous. We took the interstate back, paper wraps flapped
all over the floor, soft tacos and sauce like Basquiats, and we all felt
lucky it was Jason’s car, not ours. We munched cinnamon twists
and sipped Baja Blast, watching the lines of the night road streak past.
Then somehow, we all were back in the dorm, crawling back
down the hall, all our ears perked for the sound of the ball.